A Feasible Alternative to Coal


Today’s Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reports on the recent discovery of a large natural gas deposit in Northern Louisiana.

CADDO PARISH, La. — A massive natural-gas discovery here in northern Louisiana heralds a big shift in the nation’s energy landscape. After an era of declining production, the U.S. is now swimming in natural gas.

Even conservative estimates suggest the Louisiana discovery — known as the Haynesville Shale, for the dense rock formation that contains the gas — could hold some 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That’s the equivalent of 33 billion barrels of oil, or 18 years’ worth of current U.S. oil production. Some industry executives think the field could be several times that size.

Huge new fields also have been found in Texas, Arkansas and Pennsylvania. One industry-backed study estimates the U.S. has more than 2,200 trillion cubic feet of gas waiting to be pumped, enough to satisfy nearly 100 years of current U.S. natural-gas demand.

Quick primer on natural gas: Its carbon impact is roughly half of coal’s. It has multiple energy uses. It’s found right here at home. Politicians have placed much of it off limits — yet they want us off of coal. Good luck with that, without much more natural gas. And nuclear.


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